Smash your past-it pumpkins for fun and compost at these NYC parks

November 3, 2021

Credit: Max Guliani for Hudson River Park

Pent-up aggression, post-Halloween boredom, or just a desire to do something useful with your jack-o-lanterns that have seen better days–they’re all good reasons to join in the fun at a pumpkin smash. Post-holiday pumpkins make fabulous compost material, and several (free!) events around the city are offering a chance to “squash” your way to a greener community while teaching kids about composting. To quote Noreen Doyle, president and CEO of Hudson River Park: “By encouraging our community to smash, bash and crash their leftover pumpkins into compost, we can all play an active role in working towards a greener future.”

Hudson River Park Pumpkin Smash
November 7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hudson River Park’s annual Pumpkin Smash will take place at the park’s Pier 84 near West 44th Street and 12th Avenue, inviting visitors to smash and bash their leftover pumpkins into bits; the park staff will take it from there. Kids of all ages can partake in the fun; each group will get 15 minutes at bat. Last year’s Pumpkin Smash yielded 1,000 pounds of compost. Register for the 2021 Pumpkin Smash here.

Pumpkin Smash 2021 at Queens Botanical Garden
Saturday, November 6, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
After being bashed at Lou Lodati Park, 41-15 Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, everyone’s squished squash will be turned into compost headed for the soil in city parks. Bonus: There will also be games and worm bins.

Pumpkin Smash at Snug Harbor
November 6, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Staten Island smashers are invited to bring pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and gourds to the Compost Demo Site at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. The NYC Compost Project will turn them into compost for the city’s green spaces.

Roosevelt Island is also hosting a Pumpkin Smash on Saturday, November 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Manhattan Park Lower Lawn, East River facing Manhattan Skyline Buildings #20 and #30. If you can’t make it to one of these events, but don’t want your washed-up squash to go to waste, bring them to one of the food scrap drop-off sites on this food scrap drop-off map.

Donate unwanted Halloween candy for a good cause
If you’d rather not have piles of candy lying about, begging to be binged on–or spend all year hiding it from the kids–you can donate the sweet stuff to a worthy cause. The Treats for Troops program allows you to send sweets to soldiers; kids can earn buyback prizes. Similar programs include Halloween Candy Buy Backs, Operation Gratitude, and Operation Shoebox.


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